The Atlanta Egotist Checks In

By Kiran Aditham Comment

As part of our ongoing collaboration with The Denver Egotist, the folks from the network chime in with a look into the agencies scattered throughout Atlanta, nicely breaking things down from the “Name Brands” to the “Rebels.” Let’s read on to see who’s now and who’s next, shall we?

Psst. Hey. Heyyy. We’re down here in the dirty south. If you’ve never been here or lived here, you probably have a cousin that lives in Lawrenceville (which, by the way, is not Atlanta).

So what’s going on in the ATL? Well, we’ll tell you.

First of all, T.I. talked someone off a building this week…literally, and crazy Bobby Cox retired from the Braves.

Secondly, we heard about the recession and we felt it, there’s no shame in that game, but despite a few casualties we’re surviving. What we’re really struggling with now is our identity crisis. There are a lot of OA’s (Original Agencies) around here that have seen a lot and been around at least long enough to have something from the ’96 Olympics in their annals, but despite our ability to soldier through busts and booms we still don’t have the stature or the national recognition of New York or San Francisco or the new buzz of Portland and Denver. Agencies here fall into a few categories:

The Name Brands: The local offices of conglomerates like JWT, BBDO, Digitas, and Razorfish that are pretty traditional and work on the big local accounts like AT&T & Home Depot. We hope to see some of these guys work harder to take accounts away from The Pluses out west: CP+B and W+K

The Middies: There are a bunch of these guys around, 22Squared, Armchair, and Ames Scullin & O’Haire for instance, who are big enough to work on a lot of fun accounts like Cartoon Network and Baskin Robbins and are brave enough to be constantly trying new things.

The Black Boxes: Unboundary and Iconologic you always know are up to something cool, but never know quite what, until six months later it lands on their website.

The Houses: Boutique shops like Matchstic, BChord and (the new) Big Table Agency that consistently pump out really great identity work and keep Atlanta companies on point.

The Rebels: EC Design Co., BeDo, People of Resource are the first crews that are trying to redefine the agency model. They’re busy creating to create as much as they are creating to pay the bills, creating opportunities to express their creative vision rather than relying only on client work. These guys are the ones to watch.

Moral of the story? Atlanta has a lot of good studios that are doing a good job of getting the job done. What we need now are great groups of creative people redefining the job, and then kicking the job’s ass. Fortunately, the environment in Atlanta is primed for exactly that:

The Mood: Everyone agrees that things are looking up in Q4. Companies are starting to let their purse string hang a little looser and are specifically requesting slash demanding new and innovative ideas, pretty much an agency’s wet dream. This also means shops across the board are starting to hire again and should be posting their openings with us if they know what’s good for them. Some are even taking advantage of the market and the need for new chi and expanding to newer, bigger office spaces.

The Talent: We are lucky to have four great design schools up and down Peachtree Street with SCAD, Portfolio Center, Creative Circus and Georgia State pumping major creative power out of their doors on the regular. Agencies need to harness this young energy and keep those fixie riding portfolio slingers in town. With positions opening up, they’ll also have to work harder to keep the good designers in house. We think that means more agencies will need to go the way of The Rebels, giving designers more creative power and becoming not just producers but creators.

The Social Network: Everyone in Atlanta seems to be wrestling with what exactly “Social Media” means to them and how much or little they should get involved. It right now feels like across the board we’re a little behind the ball, but some, like 22Squared, are embracing it and taking it on as a core competency, while others, like Matchstic, are content to let those that own the space rock it and avoid fumbling and mumbling through the Twatter altogether. New collaboratories, like wheelhouseTK are also popping up to try to claim the space. We expect whoever comes forth as the master of new media to own this town.

The Challenge: We’re challenging Atlanta to keep sopping up those local accounts, pushing clients to produce sick work and getting noticed, hard, not for being the next SF or DEN, but for being the new ATL.

The Atlanta Egotist is beating the drum of Atlanta’s creative revolution, serving up the very best creative North, South, East, and West of Peachtree Street. Read about it, talk about it and submit your great work daily at